More to do and more space to do it in!
I started this blog as a way to write about ideas that didn’t easily fit into a different project I’ve been working on. That was nearly a year ago now, and Sex in the Public Square has quickly become much more than what I’d intended. Rather than remaining a container for distractions from my work, it has become an integral part of my work.
Sex in the Public Square is one piece of a large and beautifully decentralized attempt at building more rational and productive spaces for talking about sex. As the wise and perceptive bloggers at the newly-born Sex Calumny point out, “It’s not that people aren’t talking about sex. It’s just that sex is so often discussed in unproductive ways: euphemisms, commandments, myths, norms.” So I was happy, a year ago, to join other writers who use their blogs to expand the space available for productive discussions of sex, whether at the personal, community or cultural level. (My side bar is full of links to these amazing people so I’m not going to name them all here!)
And as I wrote yesterday, expanding the space for productive and honest discussion of sex and sexuality is essential to the health of our society and our communities — reducing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections — just as it is essential to our own individual sexual fulfillment or happiness. After all, it’s hard to get what you want if you can’t communicate about it!
For those reasons, but just as importantly because I have been so encouraged by some of the conversations that have taken place here, I’ve decided it is time to expand my corner of the public square. I’m teaming up with Chris Hall of Literate Perversions, Tom Joaquin of The Free Lance, and others to create SexInThePublicSquare.org. (If you want to join in keep reading then drop me a note! And don’t try the URL just yet; it’ll just point you back here. We’re nearly ready to take down the scaffolding and put away the drop clothes, but not quite! Soon, though. I’ll tell you when.)
We’ve laid out our mission like this:
We believe that sexuality is a key component of human life, and that it cannot be excluded from “polite conversation” without losing an important element of democratic participation. We seek to expand the space available for discussions of all aspects of sexuality, and to build communities where respect and inclusion are the norm. We also believe that talk about sex needn’t always be “serious” in order to be “appropriate” and we welcome playful conversations that focus on the fun of sex as well as serious conversations that focus on things like policy, safety, and identity.
The new site will be collaborative, with varying levels of access depending on the interest level of the member. There will be many different ways to participate. And just as here, unregistered visitors will be able to read and comment on everything.)
A public square is a place of intersections, of interactions, of communication and recreation, of political and expressive space, and mostly, of community building. SexInThePublicSquare.org will be basically blog-like in format, thus easy to navigate and easy to keep up with, but will have features and capabilities that a typical blog doesn’t have, and that begin to add more of that “public square” feel. In addition to the kinds of blog entries you’re used to reading here (which will still be here, by the way, but will also be there), it will have:
- Forums where readers and members can talk about all kinds of sex-related stuff regardless of what I’m blogging about at the moment.
- “Take Action” space that makes it easy to contact the media or your elected officials when an issue motivates you to act. (Let’s put sex back into politics — in a helpful way!)
- Reviews of sex-related books, films, music or web sites. It will have links to blogs, agencies, foundations and other resources.
- Listings of interesting sex-related events — lectures, demonstrations, rallies, readings — that we know about or that are contributed by readers.
- Links to sex-related research, advocacy groups and blogs.
My question to you, the readers of Sex in the Public Square on WordPress, is this:
What else should it have?
It was you, after all, who inspired me to think about expanding this space. It was the conversations in the comments of this blog, most of which were carried on by people who do not usually blog about sex in their own spaces, that made me think it would be wonderful to have an expanded space for people of all sorts to come and participate in discussions about sex.
Think about it, and then email me using the contact form above or leave your comments here. And if you’re really curious and think you want to contribute to the shaping of the site, send a note saying so and I’ll see about showing it to you at its temporary “in development” address.
It’s true that there isn’t any space on the Internet that’s truly public, but we’re about to open up a space that is as close to public as we can without buying a phone company.